Monday, September 26, 2022

It's Supposed to be Hot

 The Creator of All Things has provided both short term individual weather events and long term climate conditions for the benefit of humanity. Divinely created weather and climate conditions support our agricultural bounty and provide us with a highly enjoyable physical environment. Intuitionally, we perceive Earth’s just-right atmospheric composition and highly precise planetary temperature range to be but two examples of divinely fine-tuned Intelligent Design on this planet. But this is just the ‘beginning of the story.’  Our astronomical summer just concluded in North America was notable because of its unusual heat. Climate always changes as does our weather.

Weather is defined as the condition of the atmosphere over short periods of time.  Are we experiencing rain, fog, wind, warmth, clouds, or any of a host of other weather conditions such as drought? Climate is defined as the condition of earth’s atmosphere over long time periods. These two terms are often confused. Today’s young people may be told by their grandparents that the they were obliged to hike to school in deep snowdrifts. Such tales may be exaggerations, or they may signal that climate has actually changed somewhat over the last few decades.


Many analysts blame ‘climate change’ for extended hot spells, droughts, floods, or other significant weather events. Weather scientists, journalists and politicians blame our apparently warming planet on emissions such as CO2 from burning of fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and natural gas. They claim the world is in the throes of a climate crisis. They claim we must ameliorate the crisis with draconian measures such as purchasing only electric vehicles in place of internal combustion vehicles or cutting back on applications of fertilizer. Nitrogen fertilizer is most often produced by burning natural gas, ultimately generating CO2 as a waste product. The US congress recently passed a bill with $357 billion designated to finance climate change measures.


The science of climatology is far more complex than indicated by most articles headlining undesirable, unwelcome weather phenomena. While increasing CO2 concentrations have been shown to have some effect on Planet Earth’s atmospheric warming, there are many other natural causes of warming not well publicized or understood by activists who advocate for sudden, harsh national solutions.


El Nino is an ocean phenomenon where ocean surface water in the Pacific becomes warmer. It results from diminished speed of east to west trade winds north of the equator. Temperature and rainfall amounts around the globe are disrupted. A related phenomenon is La Nina, where the effects are generally the opposite of El Nino. Animal and plant life in the oceans and on land also responds to these changing conditions. It is not unusual for journalists to attribute unusual weather phenomena to climate change. But what is the actual meaning of such claims? Writers often claim tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, or flooding are becoming more severe. Historical statistics do not generally affirm this fact as we review hundreds or thousands of years of climate records.


Earth residents have just emerged from a brutal hot summer in the US, a horrendous flood in Pakistan, a drought in Europe, a destructive hurricane in Puerto Rico which continued up the east coast and caused extensive damage in Canadian Maritime Provinces, and other local meteorologic disasters around the world. Weather scientists have analyzed the reasons for these harsh weather events, including the above-mentioned El Nino and La Nina phenomena, heat domes, and ubiquitous meandering jet streams. Climatologists skilfully present natural explanations for these heartbreaking events. We do not deny that climate change has occurred with the less often repeated caveat that climate always changes.


Nearly a century ago the United States was in the throes of the nearly decade-long Dust Bowl of the 1930s. I personally recall my uncles recounting the horrors of animal and grain farming in Oklahoma and Kansas during that historic period. Temperatures spiked way beyond the current several tenths of a degree average rises. Reporting on the recent Pakistan flooding, Time’s “Spotlight Story” of 9/16/22 insightfully claimed multiple causative factors: “There are many ingredients to the still ongoing humanitarian crisis — some meteorological, some economic, some societal, some historic and construction oriented.” The 1930s Dust Bowl was linked to but not totally caused by imprudent agricultural practices by farmers in southwest US. Many planetary flooding events are exacerbated by human population explosions in flood prone areas. Recall: World population is eight times greater in 2022 than in 1800.


A popular 2011 article by NOAA could serve as a required reading primer for today’s meteorology students. It reminds us of the many divine wonders of our intelligently designed weather system. Here is the opening paragraph:


 “Imagine our weather if Earth were completely motionless, had a flat, dry landscape and an untilted axis. This of course is not the case; if it were the weather would be very different. The local weather that impacts our daily lives results from large global patterns in the atmosphere caused by the interactions of solar radiation, Earth’s large ocean, diverse landscapes, and motion in space.”


Holy Scripture conveys similar feelings of wonder for our planet’s weather environment. Our world’s weather and climate systems are miracles of intricate intelligent design. The Bible promotes admiration, wonder, and awe for diverse weather events, violent and non-violent, harmful and beneficial. All types of weather inspire God’s people to ascribe glory to the God of Creation.   




            






     

Thursday, September 8, 2022

21st Century Energy Crisis

 In the 1970s the US suffered from the first international energy crisis. It began partly as a political action by Arab States in response to the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel. Of course, the US favored Israel. The war triggered the Arab oil embargo. The embargo resulted in an artificial supply disruption but there was no genuine scarcity of fossil fuels. The Arab states had long desired to control the international oil market. The effects of the the 1973-74 energy crisis linger in the memory of everyone alive at the time. I recall several personally impactful effects…

In January 1974 I was a public school teacher required to welcome students to their classroom in pitch darkness. Between January 6, 1974 and April 27, 1975 daylight savings time (DST) was reimposed as an energy saving measure to conserve electricity during high demand late afternoon hours. A lower national speed limit was imposed along with odd-even day ‘rationing’ at gasoline stations. Crude oil prices jumped several hundred percent. Gasoline prices quickly rose to $1/gal. A second crisis occurred in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution. This crisis was not as serious as the one in 1973-74, but it illustrates how vulnerable the world is even to minor fuel disruptions. Now we have a similar situation owing to the Russian prime minister’s limitation of natural gas and oil exports to Europe. We might call this the “Russian energy embargo of 2022.”


To avoid the perception that our current series of posts has become too political, we remind readers that our Science/Faith blog theme is relevant to our current discussion of energy. God has authored the reality that energy sustains human existence. He also established the physical truth that energy can be converted from one form to another. Scientists describe these convertible forms of energy—heat, light, motion, electrical, chemical, and gravitational. Our timeless God created ancient forests and other life forms giving rise to fossil fuels and minerals we extract today in enormous quantities from below the surface of our planet. In our day these fuels supply energy for the world population approaching 8 billion. 


Energy is defined as “the ability to do work.” Earliest humanity was commanded to “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26b). In Gen 1:28, they were also counseled to “…fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion”…(over the living things.) In a broader sense, Adam and Eve and their many descendants have worked and used energy to modify and control their environment for thousands of years to build human civilization.


In the 21st century we have arrived at a pivotal time in US history. Powerful political forces are pushing our society to quickly transition from non-renewable fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. These powerful forces are intensely idealogical. Huge financial resources are being legislated by our governments. In the $737 billion “Inflation Reduction Act” passed on August 16, 2022, Congress allocated $369 billion for climate change initiatives. This provides money for solar panels, wind power, electric cars, energy storage, and many other climate and clean energy initiatives, including generous tax credits.


We are not adamantly opposed to the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar generated electricity. Neither are we ignorant of our responsibility to care wisely for our environment. However, the transition to renewable energy should be judiciously implemented. In our day about 20% of our energy needs are satisfied by renewables. Energy demand is projected to rise by 2050. Will our world be able to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources before mid-21st century? We must guard against an overly optimistic view of the promise of renewable energy. Our view is that renewable energy such as wind and solar is not ‘ready for prime time.’ Many analysts advocate a sharp decrease in fossil fuel consumption. As a result Europe is threatened with an energy crisis which could become a fertilizer crisis and ultimately a serious food supply crisis. In addition, during the winter, residents will be much more concerned with global cooling than global warming. (We will all need additional layers of warm clothing.) Cutbacks in coal consumption have reduced availability of electricity in the power grid—many people may soon be unable to recharge their electric vehicles in any type of weather, especially during rolling blackouts. 


Under the threat of electrical blackouts from failures in the power grid, many analysts may call for a revival of fossil fuels such as coal, and increases in natural gas and oil production. As I write, the recently installed British prime minister has plans to reverse restrictions on fracking. Apart from draconian mandates by politicians, there is still a plentiful supply of coal, natural gas, and petroleum waiting to be recovered. 


During the 1973 energy crisis, Robert G. Anderson, writing for the FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) stated, “The present ‘energy crisis’ stems not from a problem of economic scarcity, but instead from non-market forces which are interfering with free market prices, and thus causing shortages to develop. The problem of economic scarcity is present in nearly every situation of our lives. We are not in an ‘energy crisis’ now because energy is scarce, but rather because there is a ‘shortage’ of it. Shortages are inconceivable in a free market structure; but they do occur whenever free market methods are abandoned.”  


We recommend our readers devote some quality time researching the 21st Century Energy Crisis. It may become an overwhelming world crisis. They will discover a trove of information often obscured by ideological optimism among our current population of climate activists. May we all pray to our Heavenly Father and diligently ask Him for wisdom to make good choices.        

     










Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Rapid Renewable Rollout?

 The  well-known scripture in Genesis 1:26-28 contains a divine mandate from the Creator relating to humanity’s well-being in several spheres of experience. The twice-used term dominion implies man’s intelligent control over divinely created animals. God extended the discussion to human food supply. By extension, we may include food supply (verse 29) as it relates to agricultural practices, both then and now. In the past several years, world food supply has become an important concern. 

In studying our current energy crisis, we discovered several relevant quotes relating to the speed at which governments are forcing our society to move toward renewable energy sources: “A rapid, large-scale energy transition creates extra demands for energy services. This demand will compete with other economic activity…..This new modeling suggests a significant decline in availability of energy services during the transition phase…..(the) economy is significantly impacted during the transition to the massive renewables roll-out.” (energypost article) Energy crises can result from many other causes in the chain of cause/effect, including artificially constricted fuel supplies, abnormal weather events, unusual depletion or overproduction of fuel supplies, and lack of energy infrastructure.


We cite two recent phenomena which at least partially resulted from the rapid transition to renewables from non-renewable fossil fuels. February 2021 provided an unusual, but not unprecedented severe cold spell in Texas. Many thermal power plants failed during the storm. Fossil fuel supply was inadequate to meet the unusual demand. Wind turbines froze or were unreliable. This served to illustrate the unpredictability of wind and solar power, since the wind does not always blow predictably and the sun does not always shine. An enlightened policy must continue to rely on plentiful fossil fuels, unencumbered by politically driven restrictions on drilling and delivery systems. Over 200 people died from the lack of adequate heat, water, food, and electricity during the severe 2021 cold event.


The other case we cite involves the production of inorganic fertilizers. Nitrogen fertilizer production is necessary for high levels of food production demanded from our world’s agricultural sector by our burgeoning world population. The vital element nitrogen must be combined with other elements to manufacture inorganic fertilizer. In the early 20th century several brilliant scientists developed a means of combining unreactive atmospheric nitrogen gas with hydrogen gas to form ammonia gas—NH3. From ammonia, several other chemical steps are necessary to form, ultimately, ammonium nitrate fertilizer and other valuable end products. The level of food production from world agriculture would be impossible today without inorganic fertilizers. Some sources claim that without crop yields made possible by ammonia-based fertilizers and chemicals, the global population would be at least two to three billion less than it is today. If this startling fact is true, we may all agree on the desirability of inorganic fertilizers which have increased agricultural production levels several times since mid-20th century.


Some world nations are also pressing forward with their requirement to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use, because it requires burning fossil fuels which produce CO2 when they are ignited. In addition, inorganic fertilizers containing nitrogen compounds release nitrous oxide, also a greenhouse gas. By phasing out fossil fuels and phasing in renewable energy, nations are able to achieve their ultimate ‘carbon free’ goal. But those leaders should contemplate the risk of going ‘carbon free’ in terms of generating national hunger and devastating inflation.


A few nations (Netherlands is the prime example) may be heading for environmental and political turmoil. The Netherlands is the second largest agricultural food exporter in the world, second only to the United States. With the Russian/Ukrainian war in progress, agricultural food is already compromised in terms of world supply. The Dutch government has dictated that nitrogen emissions be cut up to 70%. Much nitrogen fertilizer must be phased out. This will result in a severe loss in agricultural production. Dutch government authorities, in an effort to maintain high ESG scores (Environmental, Social and Governance scores) are tasked with dictating which farmers must discontinue their farming operations to maintain elevated ESG scores. Food shortages and inflation are in prospect. Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is experiencing runaway inflation and other political woes, because they have focused on phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. A similar dilemma is playing out in African Ghana.


In our contemporary time frame, many governments may mandate the transition to renewable fuels too quickly. Some transitions to renewable energy sources may be desirable, but not at the cost of causing hunger, chaos, and turmoil among our world’s nations. Society’s shift to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels is not feasible in terms of many projections that fossil fuel energy will still be necessary for the next few decades by our societies.


Elements related to fossil fuel consumption—carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and other less common elements combine with each other in thousands of ways to form both useful and harmful compounds. Our Creator has gifted humanity with applied science skills. We offer our prayers to the chemical technicians who discover ways to handle both useful and harmful byproducts of fossil fuel consumption. This includes the prudent use of nitrogen fertilizers. Perhaps the sudden, expensive transition to renewable fuels and electric vehicles would be unnecessary!


“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright…..” Proverbs 2:6-7 ESV 



    

Friday, August 12, 2022

Green Light for Renewables

 Our last blog post proposed that our world “runs on” energy. The topic has many vital dimensions. It is is one of the most politically charged of our day. Currently we must deal with the challenges of energy production, not only for our time, but inevitably for our future. Those born in the 21st century will be alive in 2050. Some will achieve young adulthood. Others will look forward to achieving late/middle age. Many authorities state that by 2050 our society MUST transition entirely to renewables such as wind, water, and solar power. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas will generally be remembered as a phenomenon of the past.

Today’s inflation phenomenon has been substantially ‘fueled’ by our current energy policy. Our government has reduced the former level of petroleum drilling, and closed pipeline access. This caused a modest disruption in the supply chain for this vitally important energy commodity. In spite of our administration’s assertion that domestic oil production is higher than in the previous presidency, this claim has proven to be false owing to statistical manipulations. It is actually lower by one million barrels per day. The delicate supply/demand balance has been disrupted with the result that gasoline ballooned to US $5.00/gal. on average. Our president beseeched Saudi Arabia to pump more oil to rescue the US from dangerous inflation. Saudi Arabia declined.


President Biden promised to wean America from fossil fuels while campaigning for president in 2020. He also said, “No more coal plants.” The ideological obsession with the transition from fossil (non-renewable) fuels to renewable fuels (wind and solar) may not be achievable by 2050. It will be a serious challenge to both secular science and our personal faith to devise methods of decarbonizing the entire physical economy by 2050. Christians should pray that scientists will devise effective technologies to cope with CO2 emissions and convert them to harmless or beneficial substances.    

  

Energy sources have transitioned several times throughout human history. Animal and human power was the source of energy in early times. Early humans discovered fire for cooking and heating. Wood was the most reliable fuel. Throughout human history quantities of some fossil fuels such as coal were discovered and utilized. Natural gas was known in China in ancient times. Metal production relied on coal. Since the onset of the famous Industrial Revolution, energy consumption has not only proportionately matched the meteoric rise in human population, but also exceeded it substantially.


Planet Earth’s first billion population did not occur until about 1800. Human population has increased explosively in the past century. It now approaches 8 billion. Technological innovations of the first, second, and third Industrial Revolutions have produced an intense demand for energy, but the demand has not increased in proportion to population increase—it is proportionately far higher. In the US today, 81% of our energy is still supplied by fossil fuels. Worldwide, 80-85% of energy needs is supplied by fossil fuels, matching the US fossil fuel consumption. In the optimistic goal of the Paris Climate Accord of 2015, world countries commit to the goal of holding world temperature increases to 1.5 degrees C, and ideally not more than 2.0 degrees C. According to Paris Climate Accord officials, the transition to renewable energy (wind and solar, for example) from non-renewable fossil energy (coal, oil, and natural gas) must become a national commitment in order to avoid dangerous climate warming.

 

God provided ancient energy resources for the use of modern man in contemporary times. Today’s fossil fuels originated in the mind of God when he caused tropical forests to grow during the carboniferous geological periods, (Mississippian and Pennsylvanian—359 mya to 299 mya). Today’s fossil fuels had their beginnings in thick tangles of vegetative swamps. Ironically, in analyzing the modern concept of “carbon as a polluter” voiced even by the US Supreme Court in 2007, scientists may study the distant past ages and reference the Carboniferous geologic era.


For an enlarged perspective, we reprint two relevant statements from our previous post of 7/26/2022 (Non-renewable to Renewable Energy—Easy or Difficult?):


“Life on Earth is carbon-based life. It comprises nearly half of all biomass…..At present, 80% of our global energy production comes from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These resources are known as fossil fuels, because they are residual remains of living things that existed on our planet millions of years ago.”        


Intense planetary heat and the enormous weight of overlying rock layers resulted in chemical changes producing today’s coal, petroleum, and natural gas. The timeless Creator of All Things also divinely supervised the formation of thousands of other resources on which our modern technological society depends. For example, there are at least 4400 mineral species, many of which supply modern industry with raw materials for the needs of today’s society. Ubiquitous bacteria have played a significant role in forming these mineral resources.


The timeless Creator of Genesis 1-3 has provisioned our planet with its energy and material needs. They were in place in Earth’s rock layers when humanity first inhabited Earth. We ask God to give us wisdom as we make the difficult transition to renewable energy. In upcoming blog posts we will discuss how difficult the transition may be. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Non-renewable to Renewable Energy---Easy or Difficult?

 In one sense, the world “runs” on energy. In the US, the industrial and transportation sectors consume almost two-thirds of the energy produced. Could modern society live without industrial production and transportation? Energy is produced primarily from non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas. This means that natural geological processes are no longer producing these fuels. There is a limited supply of fossil fuels still remaining on Planet Earth. But even at the current rate of use, there are still enough fossil fuels to supply the US with its energy needs for many years.

In our present day, there is a major political movement urging transition to “clean energy.” Fossil fuels, when consumed in order to produce heat energy and subsequently electric energy and other energy forms, generate carbon dioxide (CO2). The element carbon, vital in ALL life processes, has acquired a bad reputation. According to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision handed down in 2007, the EPA was empowered to declare CO2 a pollutant, in order to enable the agency to regulate its release into the environment. But in June 2022 SCOTUS effectively reversed their 2007 decision (6-3), stating that the EPA must now be guided by the US congress to make such rulings. 


We may ask—Who is opposed to the production of “clean energy?” This question entails much confusion and complexity in our time. There is a powerful movement in the US and throughout the world to eliminate fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas from our energy production practices and transition to alternate energy technologies such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. Use of solar, wind, and hydropower does not produce CO2. Therefore, since no carbon from CO2 is generated, the energy is declared “clean.” Many politicians state we must completely wean ourselves of fossil fuels in our effort to become “carbon free”—an important catch phrase of our day. For many citizens the impetus to achieve carbon “net-zero” has become ideologically overpowering. Basically, the term signifies achievement of a balance between carbon emitted into the atmosphere and carbon removed. The concept has connotations involving every phase of modern life, including the home, transportation, agriculture, and industry.


A brief aside: The element carbon is one of the most vital and beneficial elements in human experience. Following is a paragraph from one of our many past posts involving the element carbon: 


“Life on earth is carbon-based life. It comprises nearly half of all biomass. The human body is over 18% carbon. It is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, behind hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. While recognizing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas contributing to slight warming of our atmosphere in recent times, we have been researching the effects of increased CO2 and the results of atmospheric warming resulting from it. In general, we decry the fear engendered by the idea that CO2 is a pollutant. Concepts such as “carbon footprints” still dominate the journalistic landscape. The footprints are difficult to define, explain, and regulate.” (from 4-17-19 JAS post)


At present, 80% of our global energy production comes from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These resources are known as fossil fuels, because they are residual remains of living things that existed on our planet millions of years ago. Burning of these fuels releases carbon in the form of CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 is a “greenhouse gas.” Scientists liken Earth’s atmosphere to a greenhouse which permits heat from the sun to pass through the greenhouse glass easily but prevents heat from easily returning back through the glass and into the air. Air inside the greenhouse becomes warm and remains warm. In a similar way, the atmosphere acts like greenhouse glass. It traps long wave infrared energy (heat) within the atmosphere. Some CO2 warming is clearly a benefit to mankind, but ongoing warming of the earth’s atmosphere could become excessive. Planet Earth’s temperature has been slowly rising since the end of the “Little Ice Age” in mid 19th century. Earth residents debate how much our current “climate change” (global warming) affects us adversely. Climate change has also achieved a negative reputation in some quarters, but historically, climate change is also beneficial. (Individual weather events may not always be beneficial—some may be tragic.)


Do most current Earth residents believe the God of Creation is responsible for the existence of fossil fuels for “such a time as this?” In divine wisdom, God foreknew the energy needs of humanity in the 20th and 21st century and created lignin and cellulose-rich forests which crashed to the ground in dense swamps during the carboniferous period. If these forests had appeared millions of years later during another geologic period, bacteria would have consumed the remains of these forests before they were buried under sediment and transformed chemically by enormous heat and pressure under earth’s surface. There would be no fossil fuels—coal, crude oil, and natural gas—to be extracted from today’s Planet Earth!


Today we recognize the reality that humanity must ultimately be forced to consider an alternate source of energy. A major question remains: How soon must this change be accomplished? This is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity. In the years following the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels have contributed mightily to a population explosion—from one billion in 1800 to 7.9 billion in 2022—a stunning explosion!


Will our current society be as patient transitioning to renewable energy and away from non-renewable energy as they were switching to fossil fuels following the Industrial Revolution? Many environmental activists advocate switching completely to renewables by 2030, or by 2050 at the latest. Personal research reveals that early moves in this direction are already causing near-catastrophic outcomes in terms of inflation and generating agricultural crises. May our God guide government officials during this energy transition. It is a topic for additional blog posts.  

    








 










Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Scientists Who Believe

 The topic of belief in God is multidimensional. We have discussed differences in God- belief, such as the startling drop in belief among 18-29 year-olds in the US from 2017-2022—the topic of our previous post. In April we also posted:

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2022/04/god-belief-proven-probable-or-doubtful.html/


Our Science/Faith blog generally deals with science as it reinforces personal faith in the reality of God among the general populace. In the last few years we have not specifically addressed the topic of God-belief among professional scientists. Scientists belonging to AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) were cited by the Pew Research Center in 2009 as having less God-belief (33%) than the general population (83%). Pew Research employees state professional scientists “…on the whole are much less religious than the general public.”


Herein lies a startling irony. We might expect highly advanced scientists to be more likely to possess belief in the God of Creation. Instead, with notable exceptions, it is the reverse. We cite a thrilling exception: 


Dr. Fazale Rana, of the Reasons to Believe organization, reminded readers of a 2005 event in his recent newsletter. We recall that Reasons to Believe president Dr. Hugh Ross had informed his supporters of a startling scenario. It was a story of a brilliant scientist, a former atheist, who was converted late in life. We quote Dr. Rana from his Weekly Digest Newsletter:


“I watched God transform Rick Smalley’s life through Reasons to Believe. And I’ll 

never forget it.

   

Rick was a Nobel Laureate who was awarded the prize for founding the discipline of   nanoscience and nanotechnology—the science, engineering, and use of individual atoms and molecules, especially to build microscopic devices.


He was a brilliant scientist…and an outspoken atheist.


But then, after a few conversations with Hugh Ross, Rick decided to read Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off.


Rick responded with a declaration: ‘Evolution has been dealt a death blow.’ And he became an outspoken follower of Jesus Christ!”


Rick Smalley possessed an early connection to Christian faith. As a young person he spent his first two post-high school years at Hope College, a 4-year liberal arts college advocating a vibrant Christian faith. Although he “…was a stickler for scientific credibility and integrity…and Bible passages that he presumed were in conflict with science…” But before he died, he proclaimed far and wide that science and faith can and do fit together.


A lengthy Wikipedia article entitled “Richard Smalley” speaks of the genius of this scientist. Late in life he became a follower of Jesus Christ and recognized God as Creator based on his knowledge of science. Professional scientists are uniquely qualified to identify the works of God and believe in Him as The Creator.


We thank God for the skill of professional scientists. They discover the wonders of our physical environment and help human society develop scientific technology to sustain and enrich our lives. The Creator has gifted humanity with the Image of God in their intellectual essence. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him…” (Genesis 1:27 ESV).   




     


 

  

  

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Diminished Belief in God

 Our Science/Faith blog connects with many contemporary phenomena. We are concerned about current societal chaos, specifically, breakdowns in law and order such as unprovoked weapons attacks on innocent people at churches, schools, supermarkets, and other public places and events. The recent Supreme Court ruling to reverse the wrongly decided 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling has resulted in demonstrations at the homes of justices. These events have reinforced the powerful negative impact of entertainers, news broadcasters, and politicians frequently expressing their view that the value of “a woman’s right to choose” and “a woman’s right to privacy” supersedes the value of a living human being developing within the womb of a mother.    

The news that the largest drop in belief in God has recently occurred in people between the ages of 18-29 is disturbing. That age group consists of younger “Gen Y” and older “Gen Z” residents. Demographers are fond of assigning various monikers to different age groups of our population. Young people of age 18-29 frequently achieve more attention for many reasons. Perhaps the disturbing recent events referred to in the opening paragraph are connected.


Gallup researchers have stated that only 81% of Americans believe in God in 2022, down from 87% in 2017. Statistically, this is a substantial, disturbing drop. From 1944 to 2011, more than 90% of Americans professed belief in God, according to the Gallup poll which first asked the question in 1944.


The greatest drop occurred in the 18-29 year-old demographic—10%. Young  adults who have finished high school and have launched their work careers and/or higher education and may contemplate marriage and raising a young family, are losing their God-belief at an alarming rate. Only 68% of young people in the 18-29 year category say they now believe in God. A thorough study of the spectrum of statistics reveals fascinating truths about many diverse aspects of contemporary God-belief.


What accounts for the drop in our young people’s belief in God? How do our young people respond to this news? They may state that there are many more distractions today than in the days of their parents and grandparents. Some distractions are fairly new to the modern generation. For example, many types of social media did not even exist prior to the turn of the 21st century. Traditional entertainment such as radio, TV, and movies, have evolved new forms.

 

But there is more! Added to traditional entertainment venues have been innumerable social media platforms. Most sites have been launched since the turn of the 21st century. By 1990, personal computers were “the NORM.” The onset of personal computers set the stage for the emergence of social media with its emphasis on “networking.” Personal computers began to assume a foothold in our culture, especially among young people. Email was ubiquitous by 2000. More important was the advent of social media platforms. Along with smartphones, they have transformed our society. These online communications have created networks, communities, and collectives for info sharing, messaging, and other social contacts such as videos. Most  young people and many adults now have a substantially different life experience because of the bewildering existence of dozens of social media platforms. 


We may ask if the proliferation of information and instant communications has helped or hindered God-awareness or God-belief. The numerous social media platforms were enabled by advances in technology—applications of science. Our blog has linked both science and faith. Ideally, principles of science fortify our faith. God is the author of all truth, including scientific truth.


Modern technology, as an application of science, has the potential to detract from faith in God. It also has the potential to enhance our knowledge of truth and strengthen our belief in God. The parallel in Scripture may be found in Romans 9:21: A potter has the ability to form clay into a vessel of either “honorable use…or dishonorable use.” In our time, science and technology are like clay in the potter’s hands. Many media platforms are beneficial. Others clearly distract us and fill our lives with things other than God. Our belief in God may be diminished. In these perilous days we must make every effort to guard against technology detracting from our belief in God.          


 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Questions for the Creator

 On the “spectrum” of fascinating science topics, we offer the electromagnetic spectrum as our topic of inquiry. Humanity is immersed in a sea of electromagnetic waves every moment of our lives. It may be hard to believe our bodies receive electromagnetic radiation in the form of infrared energy even on the coldest winter nights. Of course, we receive more of this type of energy on the warmest days of summer. Electromagnetic radio waves course through our bodies every moment of our lives, but we are unaware of them without a radio receiver.       

In inquisitive moments I have stated I would like to question the Creator about the electromagnetic spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum is a major component of the physical operating system of our planet. How does this scientific phenomenon work? Modern scientists have revealed plentiful facts about the topic, yet there are many details still to be discovered. 


The electromagnetic spectrum is defined as the entire range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation extending from the shortest gamma rays (5.5 trillionths cm or less) to the longest radio waves (up to 10,000 km). There are seven types of electromagnetic waves—gamma, X-rays, ultra-violet, ordinary visible light, infra-red, microwaves, and radio waves. The broad spectrum of these waves is really a continuum of different wave-lengths. 


What is electromagnetic radiation and how is it produced? Electromagnetic waves are generated by the acceleration—movement—of atoms or their component particles such as negatively charged electrons and positively charged protons. All atoms in matter throughout the universe are in continual motion, vibrating constantly with kinetic energy. Visible light with its spectral colors, sometimes indicated by the acronym ROYGBIV, is but a tiny “sub-spectrum” of a much broader spectrum of energy consisting of uncounted trillions of waves of different lengths.


When charged particles such as electrons or protons move (they move continually), electromagnetic waves are generated. These waves oscillate with electric and magnetic fields vibrating at right angles to each other. They zip off into outer space at the speed of light. These transverse waves require no medium. They move through air or empty space at 300,000 km/sec. They permeate the entire universe. 


In our previous post (Works of God: Code Creator) we highlighted the Creator and Divine Intelligent Designer of the DNA code of life. The DNA code directs the production of thousands of proteins—coherent tissue structures in all forms of life, including humans. In this post we have focused on a different type of coding: transfer of information in order to achieve a specific outcome. The electromagnetic spectrum produces many useful outcomes: Humans use radio waves for communication; microwaves for heating and data transmission; infrared for heating and thermal imaging; spectral light for ordinary vision; ultraviolet for suntanning and controlling micro-organisms; X-rays for medical imaging; and gamma rays in medical radiotherapy to name only a few.


Why would we inquire of the Creator concerning the electromagnetic spectrum? He was its omnipotent Intelligent Designer! We wonder how God originated the design process. He created the electromagnetic spectrum to perfect our planet’s operating system. Its secrets of operation depend upon HIS creative care and wisdom.


There are many faith and Creator-affirming phenomena we observe in the world of nature. Intuitionally, we conclude these characteristics could not occur by accident or chance. The properties of our temporal home display profound evidence of divine creativity and love. They provide powerful reasons to believe in, trust, and worship the God of Creation.


You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. (Psalm 40:5 ESV)

  


  

         


 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Works of God: Code Creator

 Prior to discussing the significance of codes in terms of the works of The Creator of All Things, we recall a wonderful set of experiences while I was in college. In the summer of 1957, evangelist Billy Graham held a famous evangelistic crusade in Madison Square Garden in New York City. It ran from May 15 to September 1 and drew two million people, many of them “repeat” attendees. It was Graham’s longest crusade of the 417 crusades he held in 185 countries from 1947-2005.

As a college student in 1957, local churches in my home area organized bus trips to the Billy Graham crusade venue at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The meetings were held during the college summer vacation. I was able to attend more than ten Graham crusade rallies. The highlight of the 3000-voice choir was their rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” sung 99 times during the many weeks of meetings. It remains one of the best loved hymns in Christendom. The original lyrics of verse 1 stated…


     O Lord My God when I, in awesome wonder

         consider all the works thy hands have made…


Music editors have modified the lyrics of “How Great Thou Art” in past years. The term works has transitioned to worlds. Both terms give glory to The Creator. This popular  Swedish hymn dates to the late 19th century.


One of God’s most vital works was His creation of life. Millions of species of life on Planet Earth are formed according to coded instructions found in the molecules of DNA and associated RNA. Both molecules function as a result of a simple code. God’s creative work included creation of the DNA code which sustains the physical structure and physical function of all species. Scientists and theologians alike have determined that all codes are the product of an intelligent mind. DNA and RNA codes, therefore, originated in the mind of the Divine Creator. The DNA code is common to ALL earth life—animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and archaea.


“Proteins are the end products of the decoding process that starts with the information in cellular DNA. As workhorses of the cell proteins compose structural and motor elements in the cell, and they serve as the catalysts for virtually every biochemical reaction that occurs in living things. This incredible array of functions derives from a startlingly simple code that specifies a diverse set of structures.


In fact, each gene in cellular DNA contains the code for a unique protein structure.” (Quoted from Scitable website)


Many of our Science/Faith blogs have used the term “code.” Here are three past posts to reinforce the works of God as the “Code Creator:”


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2010/09/whats-in-code.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2010/09/creator-of-code.html


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2013/06/obeying-your-dna_18.html


He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-17).

  


  

     


Saturday, May 28, 2022

U. S. Congress Revisits UAP Sightings

The recent May 17, 2022 public congressional hearing was expected to provide citizens with long-sought answers concerning UAPs ( unidentified aerial phenomena). The previous US Congressional open hearing dealing with UAPs occurred in 1968. UAPs were formerly known as UFOs (unidentified flying objects). Strange, unknown objects appearing in our skies have been amply discussed since 1947. Their appearance has generated considerable angst and speculation that they are visitors from extraterrestrial realms or foreign adversaries possessing advanced technology far beyond man’s current ability to duplicate. Citizens have complained that our government knows more about UAPs than they have publicly revealed. The hearing drew mixed reviews and proved disappointing for many.

Following the 84-minute presentation by Ronald Moultrie, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security and Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, congressional representatives were invited to a closed, classified briefing later that day. Some members of congress called UAPs a “national security threat.” Many citizens wonder what information was presented during the “closed, classified briefing.”


The hearing was a followup to the US Government’s written report submitted on June 25, 2021. That report was presented at the behest of Senator Mark Rubio, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC). Our science/faith blog reported on the anticipated June 25 UAP “tell-all” in our post of June 9, 2021:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2021/06/unidentified-aerial-phenomena-tell-all.html


We have carefully studied the written report of June 25, 2021. It was labelled unclassified. The report did not specifically propose that foreign governments have developed unknown military technology responsible for the unusual characteristics of some unidentified aerial phenomena. However, the report did mention “…the potential threat posed by UAPs.” It also spoke of “…relevant processes, policies, technologies, and training for the U.S. military and other U.S. Government (USG) personnel if and when they encounter UAPs, so as to enhance the Intelligence community’s (IC) ability to understand the threat.” Nowhere did the written report propose that extraterrestrial beings had visited Planet Earth and were responsible for UAPs. The report’s use of the term “threat” has caused concern for some Earth residents. What is the nature of the “threat,” they wonder? The question remains unanswered.


The written report of 25 June 2021 and the recent May 17, 2022 congressional hearing were similar in the information presented. There are stigmas associated with reporting UAPs—some people are afraid to come forward. Sensor anomalies exist. Subjective human perception is not always reliable. There is limited or inconsistent data. Anecdotal or narrative approaches have obvious weaknesses. Scientists must pursue more rigorous and focused studies.


Behavior of UAPs is cause for concern. If UAPs are acknowledged to be real, how do we explain unusual flight characteristics such as impossibly rapid acceleration or deceleration, impossible directional changes, achievement of supersonic speeds not typical of conventional aircraft, and no evidence of apparent propulsion systems? These are traits more commonly described in science fiction literature. We resist describing any more unusual traits and appearances of UAPs because they have been widely described and televised on contemporary news reports.


Personally, I have always been interested in the topic. As a high school student in the middle of the 20th century I was privy to the early “flying saucer” (UFO) craze. When government officials recently proclaimed that UAPs are real, I viewed the news as “old knowledge.” In more recent years I have accepted the UAP phenomenon and linked it to my knowledge of science. From a science perspective I realize that IF UAPs are “real,” some of them do not conform to ordinary physical laws. This accounts for their atypical behavior. For example, they are not subject to gravity, the laws of acceleration, or the laws of inertia (they may manifest “inertia negation.”) We assign certain behaviors to the paranormal and occult—beyond the scope of scientific understanding. Such vehicles could be manned by malevolent spiritual beings.


We first started posting on UAPs in November 2019. You may review any or all of the series of posts with these links:


https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/11/of-this-world.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/11/ufos-rufos-and-uaps.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/12/knowledge-gain-uaps-are-real.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/12/unidentified-and-mysterious.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/12/demonology-and-uapufo-connection.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-malevolent-paranormal.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2020/01/dimensionality-musings.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2020/01/dichotomy-in-supernatural-realms.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2020/01/natural-supernatural-preternatural-or.html

https://jasscience.blogspot.com/2020/01/dual-reality.html


God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 

(2 Timothy 1:7 CSB)